Migraines can last as short as four hours, but some intense headaches can go on for as long as three days. These horrendous medical events can steal big chunks of your valuable time and become a major stumbling block in your life. For individuals who experience migraines regularly, a strong support system can mean everything. Your support team can help make sure you get the things you need, take care of responsibilities you can’t manage, and be there for support when you need someone to talk to. Support can come from a lot of people and places, but the stronger your network is, the better equipped you are to get through the toughest times.
Tips to Creating the Best Migraine Support System
The support system you pull together doesn’t have to be fancy to be stellar. On the most basic level, you need a safety net in your life that is going to be there to catch you when a migraine settles in and you need some help. Here are a few tips to build the best migraine support system possible.
1. Be open about your situation and its severity.
For people you trust and people who you want as part of your support system, disclose your condition, be open about how bad it is, and do not feel ashamed. Otherwise, when you have a persistent migraine and must bow out of life for a bit, people can be left wondering what’s going on. That speculation is never a good thing and can lead to people that you need for support distancing themselves from you because they don’t understand.
2. Educate friends, family members, and coworkers about the problem.
Even though migraines and severe headaches are one of the most common physical ailments in the world, most people who do not have the problem are in the dark about how bad it can be. Not only should you explain to your loved ones and coworkers that you have migraines, but you should also take some time to make sure they actually understand what it means for you and how bad it can get. It can be helpful to:
- Gather a few statistics and facts that show how common the issue is and how bad it can be.
- Make a short list of how your migraines can personally affect you and what you may have to do.
- Give general information about how you can sometimes need help (getting home from work, staying in the dark, avoiding noise, etc.)
3. Generate a migraine emergency backup plan with the help of your family.
The thing about migraines is they don’t always give you an advanced warning. You can be smack-dab in the middle of your day-to-day when a debilitating headache attacks and renders you relatively dysfunctional. Your migraine emergency backup plan is a plan of action that goes into effect when this happens to you. The plan should include things like:
- Who can help you get home if you are unable to drive yourself home.
- Who can pick up your children if you normally pick them up from school, daycare, etc. and who can take care of them.
- Who should be notified to help take care of you when it’s really bad.
4. Create a migraine survival kit for yourself.
At times, you alone will be the only thing you have to rely on. In these moments, being prepared can mean the difference between getting through and suffering, so having your own emergency migraine kit is ever-important. Create your own survival kit that has all those must-haves you normally turn to when you feel a migraine coming on, such as medications, a chilled eye mask, and earplugs.
5. Get your doctor on board as a lifeline.
Most people think of their support network as the people in their day-to-day life, but medical care providers are just as much a part of this network. If you have a doctor that is not taking your migraines seriously, find one that does. These medical professionals will go out of their way to try to help you control your episodes, whether that is getting you in for an emergency appointment when needed, doing thorough testing for underlying causes, or prescribing medications.
Get Involved with Finding a Cure for Headaches
It is a little-known fact that at least 12 percent of the population suffers from migraine headaches and the migraine headache is actually the third most common illness on the planet. Alone, those of us that struggle with headaches and migraines have a lot to deal with, and sometimes, having a support network can be a saving grace. If you want to be a quiet supporter to help us with finding a cure, consider contributing to The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation. We work hard to take strides toward a better future for headache sufferers.